Speaking the Self: Testimony and Self-Development in Jane Eyre and Villette

Brittany Johnson : English

Mentor: Professor Janet Sorensen

Brittany’s project will first explore the possibilities and limitations of fictional testimony to enact a process of trauma recovery. She will plumb the formal and imagerial depths of Charlotte Brontë’s novels Jane Eyre and Villette against a background of theoretical work engaged with trauma. She will narrow her critical eye upon the ways in which these two novels articulate their respective heroines’ psychological encounters with inaccessible stores of traumatic memory through narrative acts of viewing. Brittany will rely on close readings of the texts to assess how each novel views trauma, and how this correlates to the heroine’s recovery. She will then broaden her analysis to address how Brontë’s novels respond to or resist representations of the complex relationship between trauma and perception at large in the Gothic genre.